The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
Publication Date: October 8, 2002
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Set in medieval Paris, Victor Hugo’s powerful historical romance The Hunchback of Notre-Dame has resonated with succeeding generations ever since its publication in 1837. It tells the story of the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda, condemned as a witch by the tormented archdeacon Claude Frollo, who lusts after her. Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer of Notre-Dame Cathedral, having fallen in love with the kindhearted Esmeralda, tries to save her by hiding her in the cathedral’s tower. When a crowd of Parisian peasants, misunderstanding Quasimodo’s motives, attacks the church in an attempt to liberate her, the story ends in tragedy.
Catherine Liu is an associate professor in the cultural studies and comparative literature department at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Copying Machines: Taking Notes for the Automaton and a novel, Oriental Girls Desire Romance.
Elizabeth McCracken is the author of Niagara Falls All Over Again and The Giant’s House. She lives in Massachusetts.
“What a beautiful thing Notre-Dame is!” —Gustave Flaubert